John Weller Achieved $100 Million Production Goal

from http://brokerbanker.com/john-weller-achieved-100-million-production-goal

 

By · March 15, 2012

John Weller Achieved $100 Million Production Goal.

Also finds the ideal formula for achieving professional and personal satisfaction.

For several years, John Weller had a special goal: to originate $100 million in annual closed loan volume. He had already achieved great success as a loan originator—regularly closing an average of $50 million+ annually, but was raising his personal production bar even higher. “Every year when I wrote my business plan, my goal was the same–$100 million on about 350 closings,” he explained. “I had some superstar originator friends developed through Todd Duncan’s Masters Coach program who were regularly surpassing that goal, but for me it remained elusive.”

Weller, loan originator/vice president at Megastar Financial in Denver, Colo., would attain his ambitious volume target in 2010, following steady earlier growth and a series of events and other factors. In the process, he also would achieve a greater balance in his personal and professional lives that helped him close an impressive $60 million last year, while allowing for more time to enjoy with family and other relationships. “After working 60-hour weeks for much of the second half of 2010, my team and I took some time to celebrate, travel and recharge with our families,” he said. “And with all of the recent changes in compensation and regulations, I was very happy to have closed over $60 million last year.”

The Beginning
Weller received his initial financial experience in a Junior Achievement program and subsequent work as a bank teller during his junior/senior years in high school and during summer and Christmas holidays. After attending college and working several years in the financial services and sales fields, in 1993 he obtained his real estate license and joined GMAC Mortgage in Pleasanton, Calif. “In mid-1993 when I got started, there was a ton of refinance opportunities because interest rates were lower and property values were generally increasing. Rather than spending my time beating the bushes for Realtor deals, I was in a file storage room collecting contact information to call past GMAC clients to see if they wanted lower rates. In my first six months, I did about 75 loans and only four were purchase transactions.”

However, after seven months interest rates rose and refinances slowed. In addition, Weller’s father had passed away and his mother was ill and needed help, so he requested a transfer and within a few weeks had relocated to GMAC’s Denver branch. It didn’t take him long to develop an employee niche. “When I got to Denver, I didn’t know any Realtors so I developed a target list and began cold calling them to schedule lunches,” he said. “Meanwhile, to bring in business I decided to leverage a GMAC program that offered discounted fees for anyone in the GM family of companies, including approximately 20,000 employees within GM dealerships, Hughes Electronics and various other GM subsidiaries in my local area. I had a simple strategy: use cookies that my sister had made to meet people and have an excuse to meet managers and HR directors. This resulted in a few purchase transactions that helped me get to know Realtors. My first deal was to a first-time buyer whose Realtor ended up being one of my best friends and we’ve since done hundreds of transactions together.”

Weller later moved to the locally-owned Cherry Creek Mortgage, where he was assigned a small builder account as a preferred lender. He used those builder leads to further develop his Realtor base. “I continued the cookie approach with the builder sales reps and they helped me connect with more Realtors,” he said. “I recently closed a loan to refinance someone who was one of those builder clients; the fifth time since I helped finance the home purchase in 1996. The repeat customers and Realtor relationships from that builder account still reap rewards today.”

 

The Turning Point
In 2001, Weller joined Megastar Financial Corp. and during the next several years, continued to develop his Realtor network and employ “clients for life” methods to grow his referral base. “I have always enjoyed connecting with people and getting to know what’s truly important to them, so I under promise and over deliver,” he said.

Then in 2004, a combination of factors resulted in a major change in how Weller approached the business, his personal and professional relationships, and ultimately his long-term success. That was the year that Weller was in a very serious ski accident. “I remember the neurologists shaking their heads as they looked at my x-rays; in disbelief that I was fine and walking,” he said. “While it was a struggle to come back from the brain injury, I just concentrated on developing an even greater appreciation for life and the importance of relationships.”

During the next Todd Duncan Master’s Coach event, Weller met Tim Sanders and learned about the book “Love is the Killer App,” which emphasizes the value of creating strong, positive relationships with customers, work associates and family members, and “showing them love” by being a resource point for the things they most value. “Tim spoke to our group and we were all inspired. Right at that time I also fell in love with my now wife and her/our two amazing kids. I began to concentrate even more on family and strengthening relationships with my team members.”

Weller continued expanding his business and maintained a solid annual volume growing steadily from about $50 million to $69 million in 2009. Then in 2010, a combination of a coach’s advice, refined time management techniques, super low interest rates and the addition of processing support helped him attain his superstar goal. “I met a productivity coach (Jason Womack) and in 2009 and 2010 hired him to ride along with me during my normal schedule,” he said. “He helped me recruit a full-time team member in addition to a part-time processor, which improved the quality and quantity of service I could deliver. Prior to that time, I was very busy at 20-25 transactions a month, but the additional processors helped to double my operational capacity. I went from being able to close 20 loans a month to 50 and with outstanding quality control. I am proud of my team and the job they did.”

Time Management
Weller also credits disciplined time management techniques–much of which he gained from a book The 7 Minute Difference, and the accompanying planner (7 Minute Planner)—for the overall jump in his volume. “The book is really a workbook that helps you identify your core values and goals and then provides a handy tool to enable you to focus on priorities and accomplish tangible goals,” he explained. “The planner is like any other calendar or planning tool but it’s formatted like a scorecard. You record all of your daily contacts, including calls, meetings and notes sent and give yourself points for connecting with people in various ways. Family, coworkers, clients, referral partners…everyone counts, and the more personal connection, the better. I started using this in 2009 and it helped me do a better job of expanding and improving my business plan and priorities.”

Weller noted that one of the key time management lessons was the importance of focusing on the most meaningful and rewarding activities, as well as the powerful efficiencies of getting some tasks done much quicker and not allowing them to clog up the system. “As a result of the book and planner, I began concentrating on the most productive actions and either delegating the rest or letting some wait or just go away.”

Customer Focus
Weller has worked hard to ensure the satisfaction and loyalty of his past customers. “Delivering world class service is about first understanding my client’s goal and priorities in detail before beginning an application or processing a transaction,” he said. “I ask a lot of personal financial questions and try to uncover their core values and goals. I learned many of these techniques in a book called High Trust Selling and by modeling my friend Steven Marshall. I see my role as a financial consultant to families, helping them use mortgage loans not to just finance their house, but to enhance their overall personal finances and well-being. Whenever I originate a loan, I try to create an understanding with my clients that if a future refinance transaction can save them $100 or more a month, they’ll want to re-apply for a low cost or no cost loan to capture those savings. It’s essentially a perpetual loan application and clients love it. I also remind them of potential opportunities when I call for the annual mortgage review.”

He provides new customers with a closing gift such as a personalized fire extinguisher or a Home Depot gift card and after closing a new address ink stamp. He also sends them the quarterly e-newsletter, “You Magazine” (from Loan Toolbox), which highlights finances, home repair, health and other topics of interest.

“In addition, our follow-up system that we call ‘In Touch’ automatically sends customers birthday and anniversary e-mails, and sends me a reminder to call them personally. After offering my birthday/anniversary wishes, I’ll ask about their family and friends and life events like job changes or their kids going to college, to see if I can assist them in any way. It is very common for me to originate refinance loans on customers’ birthdays and on anniversaries of their previous closing. I tend to originate pre-approvals and help them plan for their next home.”

Weller uses Mortgage Coach’s Edge program as a communications and interest rate/fee discussion tool to strengthen ties with past customers. “I really like to use the Total Cost Analysis to show clients the remainder of their current loan as compared to several options so that I can assist them with a refi or purchase,” he said.  “I recently did one for a client that showed how shortening their term to 15 years at 3.25 percent was $70,000 in interest better than their existing loan that was 4.25 percent and had 18.5 years remaining. The Edge tools are an excellent way to provide actionable information that adds value and gives clarity; thus also increasing the opportunities for their future business and referrals.”

Realtor Relations
Weller’s rapport with Realtors has continued strong since he made his first contact with agents nearly 20 years ago. In addition to regular lunches to discuss mutual areas of interest, he often shares the concepts featured in the 7 Minute Difference. “I realized that many of my real estate partners could benefit from the specific business planning and priority management,” he said. “At my business planning lunches, I explain how the planner helped me and how it might help them. I even share copies of the book.”

He also emphasized how regular communications can play a key part in an effective partnership. “Agents know that I do a great job of educating my borrowers and motivating them so that they’re equipped to move forward faster than many other originators. Megastar’s In Touch program provides agents with numerous updates throughout the loan transaction, such as title work and appraisal received, approved to close and figures sent to closing. This is one of the main reasons we have such Realtor loyalty. Agents love when we tell them what they want to know before they have to call us or e-mail to ask.”

The Team Works
Weller knows that he would not have been able to achieve his sales goals without support from his team. “From the time of my accident until now, I’ve placed a huge priority on developing more processing and transaction resources and I have really strived to nurture those relationships with fun incentives and camaraderie,” he said.

Donna Calkin, who joined him as a processor in 2005 and later moved into a custom-designed role of Transaction Manager, has played a major role in the team’s development and implementation of efficiency strategies. “She manages the paperwork, handles compliance issues, lock desk and other critical areas so that I am free to talk and meet with clients,” he noted. “She also serves as the ‘glue’ between me and our processors because she speaks the language and has the experience and compassion for the difficulties they face.”

Team Weller also includes Laura Settoon, senior loan specialist (processor, underwriter and closer); and Lisa Doyle and Sherea Risk, loan specialists. In addition, Matthew Berry, a full-time fireman, works as a loan originator and part-time assistant in Weller’s branch. “I helped convert Matthew from a ‘work at home broker’ into a full service mortgage banker. I mentor him and help him solve problems. He will also step in for me to take care of leads and Realtors outside of my core clients.”

Weller strives to keep his team motivated, through a positive work environment and other incentives, including short-term production contests with cash prizes. “For example, in late 2010, when we realized we had a chance to break our company record for closings in a month ($13 million) and my personal best of 58 loans in one month, we created a fun incentive. The deal was that if we broke both records that month, we would all go to the mail with $1,000 each to shop. The fun part was that the rule was that you had to spend the entire $1,000 on yourself and we met for lunch afterwards to share our self-indulgences. That incentive was so successful we repeated it several times, with a big one if we could break the $100 million goal. I also believe in regularly sharing meals with team members to connect as people first and then to achieve business purposes.”

Weller also pointed out that Megastar Corporate has been particularly supportive. “The key to Megastar’s success over the last 10 years—growing from a handful of originators to a $1 billion+ per year powerhouse—is our culture. It may sound trite, but we really are a family, and we work and play together in that spirit. Anna Padila-Fitzgerald, Megastar’s CEO and owner, recently won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Financial Services companies. It is easier to achieve big goals when you work with a forward-thinking, service-oriented organization.”

Streamlined Process
Weller’s team and corporate backing have enabled him to focus on a streamlined transaction process. After taking an initial phone application, he passes the borrower information on to one of his assistants. “I will typically talk to clients on the phone to start the application. Once the paperwork is ready, I will then meet most of them so they can sign the docs. I found that meeting clients is important, especially after the GFE changes. Having a face-to-face discussion has enabled me to clearly establish client and team expectations, as well as walk them through all the disclosures and explain how the new Federal and state regulations affect them. Of course, this also offers a wonderful opportunity to outline the financial benefits of working with me and to plant seeds for referrals to their friends and family.”

Future Directions
Weller is certainly glad of reaching his $100 million production goal and having rested and enjoyed his family, travel and boating more in 2011, said he’s ready to pursue it again. “My projected fundings for the first quarter of 2012 are nearly $30 million, so it appears that the conditions are right to shoot for $100 million again,” he added. “I’m seeing a tremendous amount of excitement in the real estate community and with clients about the record low interest rates. I think the real estate market is stabilizing and we could be in for a pleasant surprise for this year’s production.”

Having weathered the same industry challenges as other veteran originators during the last few years, Weller welcomes the new regulations and other changes to the mortgage lending landscape. “To be honest, all the new GFE and compensation rules and tougher underwriting guidelines for the last couple of years have been like fuel for my business.  The harder the industry gets for my competitors, the easier it is for me. Most of my competition doesn’t have the benefit I do for having highly trained business managers like Donna and Laura who know how to process, underwrite and close transactions independent from out-of-town underwriters. Nor do they have the autonomy like I do at Megastar. I am happy that the government regulators took on the shoddy business practices and sketchy business models that some originators got away with for years and I’m happy to be with a company that gives me the opportunity to be part of the conversation of moving our business forward.”

Weller is concentrating on maintaining the best possible balance between professional success and personal contentment.  “I want to stay healthy; continue developing our business; maintain great relationships with family, the team, and customers; and have fun along the way.”

The Power of Prioritizing

The Power of Prioritizing – by Allyson Lewis, 11/24/2011
http://www.morningstar.com/advisor/t/48964224/the-power-of-prioritizing.htm?&ps=13
The number of minutes and hours in every day have never been the issue for successful business people.

Prioritizing how you will choose to spend your time implies that you have first clarified and ranked what is most important for you in life. In the introduction of a book I highly recommend, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, Winifred Gallagher made three statements that define attention and helped me understand the magnitude of every tiny decision regarding what I consciously choose to focus my attention on. She wrote:

1. “Indeed, your ability to focus on this and suppress that is the key to controlling your experience and, ultimately, your well-being.”

2. “What you focus on from this moment will create the life and person yet to be.”

3. “Your life becomes the sum total of what you focus on.”

Priorities help you determine your this’s and that’s in life. The number of minutes and hours in every day have never been the issue for successful business people; great success is created by focusing your full attention, your drive, and your passion on the priorities that are most important to you and the clients you serve.

Last month I told the story of Michael Sears, a 36-year-old financial advisor who had a serious stroke–in that moment, his priorities and his life changed forever. Not surprisingly, as he prioritized his daily work habits to align with his highest personal values, his revenues rose dramatically.

The ‘7 Minute’ Priorities & Values Survey Results
In our last article we invited you to participate in our “7 Minute” Priorities & Values Survey (we welcome you to take the survey by clicking here). These are some of the results so far:

When was the last time you prioritized your values in writing?

27.4%: Prioritizing what is most important in life is part of my regular business planning.
28.4%: I prioritize my values in writing every few years.
26.3%: I have a vague idea of what is most important in my life, but I have not put those values in writing.
15.8%: I have never placed my thoughts of what is most important into writing, but I would like to do so.
2.1%: I don’t think prioritizing my values is important.

Does it surprise you that only 27.4% of the people who participated in the survey stated that prioritizing what is most important in life is part of their regular business planning? I am not surprised at all. People are so busy, they believe they don’t have time to self-reflect and think about their priorities, their values, and their purpose in life.

Select all values that are important to you.

88.4%: Love
85.3%: Family
77.9%: Friendships
74.7%: Relationships
72.6%: Meaningful Work
72.6%: Health
71.6%: Happiness
67.4%: Making a Difference
67.4%: Honesty
66.3%: Learning
One of the primary benefits of participating in the “7 Minute” Priorities and Values survey is perusing the survey’s 75 common human values. Just reading through the list of 75 values is often a starting point to help people realize there are so many important parts of life that they want to focus their time and attention on. It is interesting that in this survey the top four values revolved around connecting with people.

We believe simple awareness is the beginning of action. After prioritizing your values, will you make any changes in your life?

For me, the most exciting part of the survey was that 62.1% of the participants said that by simply becoming aware of their priorities, they believed they would make changes in their life.

Do Your Priorities Really Matter?

A couple of case studies demonstrate how a focus on priorities translates to business–and personal–success.

John Weller: The Value of Relationships

John Weller is a certified mortgage planner and has been in the mortgage industry for almost two decades. His story is an inspiration. John viewed himself as successful and enjoyed his work, but he believed that inefficiencies and distractions were holding him back from something greater. Just working harder wasn’t going to cut it. In 2009, John began to realize that his values and priorities weren’t always exactly in line with the typical tasks, calls, and meetings that filled his days. At the end of 2009, John decided that deepening relationships was one of his top priorities. He wanted to connect with people in a radically different way.

After re-evaluating his life purpose, John decided to set 2010 as the “Year of Deeper Relationships,” one of his key values in life. He decided to focus on deepening his relationships with his best clients, his referral partners, his coworkers, and especially his family. “I was reminded that the people in my life are what is most important to me, not just getting things done.”

Each time he met with someone in person or on the phone, he truly wanted to engage with them at a deeper level. He wanted to listen, he wanted to connect, and he wanted to contribute something valuable to their lives.

Very quickly, John’s phone began to ring off the hook and his inbox was overflowing with lead opportunities. He and his team were ready to deliver top-quality service to double and triple as many clients as his next highest competitor. Because of his strategic planning in 2010, out of hundreds of thousands of mortgage professionals in the United States, John moved up to number 51 in the country with $103 million in closed loans in a single year. After a decade of producing at a very high level, John’s goal of deepening relationships and making small adjustments nearly doubled his production in one year.

Dave Savage: The Value of Surpassing Expectations–The Concept of WOW

Dave Savage describes himself as a “total entrepreneur from birth.” An accomplished businessman, one of Dave’s driving values is to surpass expectations in every aspect of his life and his business, using his personal values as guideposts along the way.

In 1986, Dave had a vision of a new way to help loan officers become more successful by empowering them with the tools to help homeowners make informed, intelligent mortgage decisions.

Dave became passionate in the belief that he had developed a unique solution to a problem that affected the lives of millions of Americans. With his single, transformative idea, Dave and his partner built a company known as Wow Tools (now Mortgage Coach). The company was named after a core company value, that of delivering a WOW moment to every customer. Today the company is the leading provider of information and productivity software to more than 6,000 loan officers who have collectively helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners make better decisions about their futures.

Dave applies three core principles in his business:

1. He delivers WOW moments.
2. He provides obvious, tangible value to both client and end consumer.
3. Last, but perhaps most importantly, he focuses on making complex systems drop-dead simple.

Combine these three principles and you get a value system centered on delivering quality business and life-enhancing products that are a joy to use.

Conclusion
We teach that without a full awareness of your priorities and values, you cannot reach your full potential. When you take the time to consider what you value the most, it brings attention to whether or not your daily actions line up with those values. As you rank your values, you realize your priorities. Focusing on your priorities then allows you to spend your time and attention on what is most important, therefore making you a happier and more successful person. So, are you focusing on your priorities?

Time management expert and best-selling author Allyson Lewis has spent the last 29 years developing and teaching concrete, actionable business ideas all over the country. In her latest book, The 7 Minute Solution: Creating a Life with Meaning 7 Minutes at a Time, she shares strategies to help you Prioritize, Organize and Simplify your life for greater meaning and productivity. Take advantage of the worksheets, webinars, and more–subscribe to the FREE Member Tools area of our website www.The7MinuteLife.com and follow Allyson on Twitter @allyson7minutes.

Ten Secrets to Saving

Ten Secrets to Saving
Write down your goals. Pledging to save $2,000 for a vacation to Cancun is likely to get you there.
By Janet Bodnar, Kiplinger.com

Cheap is chic, frugality is in fashion, and Americans have sworn off their spending addiction. In a replay of 2010, their top resolution for 2011 is to save more money, according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank: Americans fell off the wagon. This year, consumers aim to save an average of $2,600, a far cry from their average goal of $14,000 in 2010. The reason: many of them didn’t meet their ambitious savings target.

That doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always believed that the trick to saving money is just that – a trick. You don’t have to strike it rich on Wall Street, win the lottery or even earn a six-figure salary to build a comfortable savings cushion. You just have to play mental tricks on yourself to stay focused on spending less and keeping more cash.

We’ve written about a lot of these strategies in Kiplinger’s, and I have my favorites.

Tops on my list is to have your boss (or your bank) take money off the top of your salary for retirement or some other goal. Even better than paying yourself first is having someone else do it for you. You don’t have to think about it, and the money won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Coming in a close second is to start now. Don’t wait till you make more money. The more you make, the more you spend.

Start small. Use our How much will my savings be worth? calculator to see how even $100 per paycheck will add up over time.

Write down your goals, which makes them more real. Be specific. “Saving for the future” is admirable but vague. Pledging to save $2,000 for a vacation to Cancun is likely to get you there.

Set up an account for each goal – education, vacation, car, computer – or for large, recurring expenses, such as insurance premiums.

Deposit your paycheck into your savings account and transfer money as you need it (don’t exceed the number of transfers you are permitted per month). My college-student son thought of this one on his own, and he told me it was “painful” to have to withdraw money from savings.

Subtract your credit purchases from checking right away so that you’re not surprised when you get the bill. My husband does this religiously; he learned this trick from his brother.

Toss spare change into a glass jar on your desk or dresser and watch your money grow. I once ran into a fellow who told me that he makes a habit of squirreling away spare change and found money (like the quarter he picked up while we were standing in line at Quiznos). His stash adds up to about $1,000 per year.

Give yourself an instant reward. Each time you brown-bag your lunch instead of eating out, toss the savings into your cash jar.

After you pay off a loan or a bill, keep writing the check and send it to a savings or investment account.

Head start. Getting into the savings habit is a matter of mind over money. But it helps to have some cash, too. Fortunately, most of us will get a head start this year with the 2% cut in the payroll tax – which could mean as much as $2,136, depending on your income. But Kiplinger’s can do a lot better than that. In our cover story, we show you how to save $50 a day on everything from mutual fund fees to your next glass of wine. That adds up to $18,250 per year. If the people surveyed by American Express had read our story, they would have had a much better chance of meeting their savings goal – and more.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2011 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. www.kiplinger.com

It’s a Small World After All

It’s a Small World After All
Globalization’s Impact on Home Loan Rates

Today we live in a global economy, an interconnected world where goods and capital move freely at lightning speed across countries. The widely accepted view is that globalization not only benefits all countries across the world but lends itself towards the betterment of the economy as a whole.

As we have seen, globalization can also have a negative impact with a domino effect in times of turmoil and unrest. This impact affects the financial markets both in the U.S. and abroad.

Flight to Safety
When there is political unrest, which was sparked recently in Egypt and has spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East, global investors get nervous. Often they shed their risky assets like Stocks and flee to the safe haven of the U.S. Dollar and U.S. Bond market.

This geopolitical unrest can create a buying binge, which helps Bond prices improve. And when Bond prices improve, so do home loan rates. However, there are growing concerns that trump the disturbing news coming from the Middle East, which will be the guiding force of home loan rates in the times ahead. What might that be?

Inflation, Inflation, Inflation
Inflation is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates, even if inflation is across the pond. The increase in global unrest, not just in Egypt but in other parts of the world as well, is mostly attributed to economic factors – primarily runaway inflation in commodities and food.

The People’s Bank of China has raised interest rates a couple of times, most recently by 0.25% in an effort to head off a continued rise in consumer prices in China. The culprits? Soaring food prices and higher raw material costs lead the pack.

China has also tightened lending standards by requiring banks to raise their capital reserve requirements. In their latest reporting, China’s inflation rose by 4.9% year over year. This was lower than their expectations, however it still marked their highest reading in a couple of years. China may have to tighten their belt some more.

Brazil is appearing on the scene with the hottest rates of inflation in six years. They are attributing this to a rise in food costs and increased bus fares. It is anticipated the Central Bank will raise the benchmark interest rate in March for a second straight time in an effort to contain the spike in inflation.

The British are grappling with inflation as well. Their year over year reading struck a hot 4%, which is twice the rate of the Central Bank’s target. The UK has yet to address this with rate hikes because their economy is in such bad shape that any hike would make matters worse.

Inflation is beginning to become a problem in Europe where it has risen to 2.4%. This is super hot and well above the European Central Bank’s (ECB) comfort zone of beneath 2%.

With an inflation problem in Europe, the ECB will eventually have to raise rates to fight it. When they do, the Euro will strengthen against the dollar, making European Bonds relatively more attractive than U.S. Bonds. This attraction will likely put a damper on U.S. Bond purchases, and could also cause home loan rates to rise.

Many of these countries within Europe have a high number of union workers. They could very well demand pay increases to offset the higher cost of living resulting from inflation. This would exacerbate matters.

As we see signs of inflation around the world, the U.S. isn’t immune. With the second round of Quantitative Easing, known as QE2, the Federal Reserve’s stated goal is to boost Stock prices, create inflation, and lower the unemployment rate. These are all unfriendly to Bonds and could also cause home loan rates to move higher. As the old trading saying goes, “Don’t Fight the Fed.” It’s a bit like the Golden Rule, “He with the gold, rules.” If the Fed wants to accomplish these goals at the expense of Bonds, they probably will.

Some Good News
Despite inflation rising around the world, the global economy will continue to recover and growth will continue to expand. Consumer confidence has picked up, hitting the highest level since February 2008. With continued confidence as the economy picks up speed, housing may begin to show signs of improvement as well.

These are very interesting times. Historically speaking, rates are still extremely attractive and remain close to the historic lows…but for how long? Overall, as a percentage of total income, the cost of owning a home is less expensive that it’s been at any time since 1963. So if you or someone you know has been thinking about purchasing or refinancing a home, now is the time to get started! Contact the person who supplied you with this month’s issue of YOU Magazine and spend time reviewing your situation today.